Complaining About the TSA Will Get You Targeted by the TSA

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Well, what do you know about this: If you bitch and moan and kick and scream about getting screened (or groped) by the TSA, you are that much more likely to get screened that much more thoroughly (or aggressively). Especially if you do it in the airport security line, where the TSA screeners can hear you.

This is not, however, because TSA screeners want to get back at you, or show you who's boss, or go on a power trip, apparently. Apparently. It is because "arrogant complaining about airport security is one indicator Transportation Security Administration officers consider when looking for possible criminals and terrorists," reports CNN. Which seems counterintuitive -- you'd think someone wanting to do bad would keep as quiet and inconspicuous as possible, no? (And, in fact, the former director of security at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport says that "effusive praise" can be just as much a warning of malevolent intentions.)

There are some 70 "behavioral indicators" that TSA screeners use to identify "high-risk" passengers, many of which may indicate stress, fear, or deception. (None of them, reports CNN, "refer to or suggest race, religion or ethnicity.")

But back to the bad attitude in the security line, well, honestly, who among us hasn't felt that way? Who hasn't expressed "contempt against airport passenger procedures"? Who doesn't hate, or dislike, the way we have to travel now? The good news is that officials are not supposed to take one single indicator (like complaining loudly about how slow the line is going) on its own in their identification of potential terrorists. The bad news is that expressions of "arrogance" or annoyance, unlike bomb residue or concealed weapons, can hardly be measured in any quantitative way and are instead up to the opinion of the screeners. Who may have arrogant attitudes of their own.

Meanwhile, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, expressing contempt is a First Amendment right, and per the 9/11 commission's report, none of the checkpoint supervisors on September 11 remembered the hijackers or reported anything suspicious -- except in the case of failed hijacker Mohammed Atta, who was, indeed, an ass when he was told he'd have to check in again in Boston after arrival in Portland.

And so, the questions remain: Will this kind of screening actually help the TSA catch potential terrorists, or will it just breed more contempt? And...did the 6-year-old girl who got the extensive pat-down have "a bad attitude"?

TSA security looks at people who complain about ... TSA security [CNN]

[JDoll][@thisisjendoll]

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Kristy
Kristy

I fly a lot, and I definitely noticed this punitive "high school discipline" approach that TSA has. It's really stupid. One time, I was flying out of LGA. I complained to TSA about the way they handled a designer purse I own. (The put my dirty shoes on top of an expensive purse!) A female TSA instantly was nice about it, but the male TSA decided to completely block me from flying, even though I am a frequent flier at both JFK and LGA. It was totally inefficient and ruined my schedule for the next several days. Now, I just smile and nod, as if I think the TSA workers are somehow doing a better job than mall cops. But, deep down, I know that it's a bunch of mall cop wannabes running that show.

Japanval
Japanval

Mohammed Atta wasn't a "failed hijacker," but is generally regarded as the ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers. Get your facts straight.

Militant Veteran
Militant Veteran

You are guilty until proven innocent. You are a criminal when you walk in the airport, until they clear you, I said 10 years ago when all the liberals wanted these searches. Now they complain?Maybe they should profile Arabs not ME! I honorably served my country and don't like being treated like a climinal just to go see family!!Fuc* the TSAThe Gestopo!!

Sean
Sean

Wow so did the 6 year old girl complain about TSA before they molested her.Most people would be in prison for the amount of touching they did with these underage kids.

Plain and simple TSA touch my junk they are getting a fist in the face for invading my personal space. Freedom to travel between states, freedom from illegal search and seizure, freedom to take public transportation. TSA = out Liberties stripped for security.

ABA
ABA

Sean,Air travel is not public..it is a private business in which one person(the traveler) enters into a business agreement with a company (the airline) for a service. As part of this service the traveler is agreeing to be screened as part of said business agreement. So go ahead and throw that fist to the face, assault on a Federal official is a nice charge to have on your record

T.J.
T.J.

We the tax paying citizens bailed out many of these private companies, continue to subsidize their existence, and have no choice but to deal with refund policies that would put most other businesses out of business. Some people have no choice but to use air travel for their living, and I for one am sick of the TSA creating a sovereign entity that can ignore basic constitutional rights out of some misguided notion of political correctness.

They need to start profiling and stop assuming every passenger is a possible threat to their flying sardine cans.

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